Still behind.  

Posted by Megan

No poetry today.
I did write a few words on the page, but nothing that went anywhere.
I decided to officially take this day off even though the point is you don't take days off.
While my daughter was at school I went to a neighbor's house and enjoyed some adult company.
I stressed about finances.
I went to the library.
We played in the park and had a picnic.
My 5 year old got her own library card.

Let's just pretend this is a poem.
Let's pretend it is engaging.
Today I was supposed to write a poem in list format.
Where here is the list, the poem will come later I guess!

Thank you and goodnight.

Day 6 - I Admit It  

Posted by Megan

I must admit that I am officially angry with myself and this experience. I seem to be incapable of putting words together. I am struck by this writer's block that is based completely on the situation of being committed. I don't have a fear of commitment exactly, but I do put myself under overwhelming pressure. I want to learn and grow from the experience and suddenly I am plagued with worries of not being good enough. When was being good enough ever relevant? There is some pressure that comes with the publication of my work, no matter how small the audience. The pressure is two fold. That of living up to the imaginary standards I believe they hold me to and that of having made a commitment to myself to do these poems daily. The public declaration makes it easier not to cheat but also more worrisome.

Currently I am two days behind and I find this very frustrating. Not only am I not producing poems according to the assignment, but I am not exploring the featured authors with the same intensity as I would like to be. Unfortunately the longer I go without posting a poem or featured author, the more backlogged I become. It might be easier if I just skipped a day and continued to look forward. But this feels like I am breaking the rules, not that there is any rules, but...I hope you know what I mean.

The hours in the day threaten me. And the housework, and the uncooperative children. I dream of putting the children to bed at 8 and having a blissful time shortly after of cleaning the house followed by some relaxing writing. Why do I continually delude myself like that? I think maybe we all do it though.

Day 5's Poetry Assignment

"Write a persona poem that incorporates one of the past two concepts. It should either address a social issue or it should provide a strong sense of place. One great way to do the latter is to write a poem in a public place, and to observe the people around you until you find someone interesting that you can imagine a back-story for."

I worked and worked on this really trying to create a story, but in the end the first little scribblings I did was the best work I did. After some minor revisions, I decided to just go with it. All of the content I generated will hopefully be included in some future poem. I spent a lot of the day playing around with my words, trying to see them in new ways. Special thanks to sbj for his initial unintended inspiration.


She was alluring and mine.
A fairy of light;
Eyes pressed closed like flowers between the pages of a book
Reformed into the shape of a butterfly
With fluttering wings she blinked her eyes open.

Day 5 - Ignoring the Assignment  

Posted by Megan

Today I am insanely tired. While I like the assignment for the day I won't be doing it. But I did want to at least write something. I will be sharing it now. Hopefully tomorrow I will be posting the assignments and my poems for both day 5 and day 6.

drifting, drifting
into the deep blue sea
waves of orange sherbet
and lime trees

drifting, drifting
into your arms
smells of berry paradise
and tastes like the sea

drifting, drifting
into endless dreams
of poppy fields and sweet perfume
and waking up with you
Which is your favorite poem that I have written so far?

Day 4 - Poetry of Place  

Posted by Megan

The 30 Poems in 30 Days series is written by John Hewitt. When I came across the site I did not realize that I in fact just barely missed this year's edition of it. As a result, I am starting at 2007, at the beginning. Quotes come directly from Hewitt, and thanks to him for the work and effort her has put into this.

Today’s Poetry Assignment

"Get out of the house and write in a new place. Write about the place you choose to go to. Don’t just rely on what you see. Describe the smells, the tastes and the sounds if you can. Try to give your readers a full picture of the place you choose."

Poetry of Place

"Now that we have moved from personal poems into poems about the world around us, it is time to explore poetry of place. Poets have memorialized places in verse for about as long as there have been poems. In a place poem, the poet attempts to capture the spirit of a particular place, and perhaps use that place to reflect upon either the events in their life or the events that have taken place at that location.

Things to remember when writing a poem about a place:

  1. The more vividly and distinctly you describe the place you are writing about, the easier it will be to draw your reader into any other themes that you have in mind.
  2. Themes that arise out of the description will be the most likely to take root. Look for details that blend well with your thoughts.
  3. The more meaningful a place is to you, the more likely you will write about it with passion, but sometimes it is more interesting to look for a location you don’t know so well and imagine a history for it.
  4. You are a poet, not a reporter. Don’t feel as if can’t change the occasional detail. Just be aware that if someone with knowledge of the place reads it and catches the differences, it might annoy them. Barbara Kingsolver writes books that are set in my hometown of Tucson, but she makes up most of the details, which is why I can’t stand to read her stories.
  5. When you can, it is a good idea to actually be at the location you are writing about when you write about it. Plenty of poems have been written after the fact, however. Wordsworth’s Tintern Abbey was written five years later, and it may be the most famous place poem in all of literature.

When I first decided to do this 30 days of poetry the first thing I did was contact my friend Holly about joining me. I am happy she decided to do so. You can follow her progress on her website Healing Yourself Heals the World. It feels nice to be sharing this experience with her and I want to thank her for accepting my offer.

Getting out of the house was the last thing on my mind this rainy day. I thought at first I would write in the library, but I didn't make it there before it closed. Then I thought maybe Starbucks, but you can't just sit there without buying a coffee or something. So I finally settled on a location. I always have this urge to preface my poems with the strong statement that I don't actually believe this to be any good, but I promised myself I would post it here, but I think that will get old after a while. Just know it is there and implied day after day. This one is kind of on the long side. I could probably use a little more editing.

Laundry Day

How many lives pass through the doors of the laundry mat?
Stained panties, baby puke, dog pee, and smelly socks
20 lives are carried in baskets
every day carried through the doors and slapped on counters

Tonight there are only three,
a mother with her daughter
a guy with pink shoes
and me

Start with the guy with pink shoes
Mostly because I can't stop staring at them
Pink with red trim and why do they exist?
And why a boy would buy them?
I don't have a problem with a boy wearing pink shoes,
But what boy doesn't have a problem with wearing pink shoes?

The dryer hums and the clothes click click, the zipper or a button
The mother flips a towel, her reflection fuzzy in the glass storefront
But I am not talking about her yet.

Even though the TV is blaring the pink shoe guy has music pouring out of hid laptop
He is smiling and typing away, must be talking to a girl
I look at the holes in his jeans, and the hat on his head, he sort of looks like a runaway
Guess that is what's in right now.

The soda machine glows in the too bright room, with it's 10 rows of flourencent lights
The TV blares over the sound of tumbling walls.
The guy in the pink shoes is laughing again,
And pulling his jacket close, even though it's warm in here.
He scuffs his pink shoes 5 steps to the door and goes outside.
As the glass door closes it forms a fuzzy mirror of the mother and her child speaking Spanish.
The air smells like half chewed gum, I wonder if it is their laundry detergent.

The girl holds the door open as her mom carries a basket out to the car,
She stands there holding it open
The smell of smoke lingers in and cold air is like a rushing wave

There is a girl on the webcam of the laptop
The laptop is sitting on the chair with the screen facing me
I can see her sticking out her tongue but has no idea anyone is watching her
She is fixing her hair and the pink shoe guy is still outside
The smoke clinging to the air like it belongs in here

I think about what it would sound like if everything in this room was turned off one by one
Sometimes you don't realize a sound is there until it's gone
I stare back up at the florencent lights, they are humming too, but I can't hear them

The pink shoe boy is back, his chain wallet sliding and clashing
Every time he moves
Whispering from mother and child
The bang of the laundry basket
Humming of the last spinning dryer slowly fades away

And I guess that just leaves me, the imposter
Scribbling and pretending I belong
Just watching these lives go by

Day 3 - Poem of Cool  

Posted by Megan


He thinks he's cool that Johnny boy does.
With his skinny jeans, wafting clouds of cancer
Johnny aint cool, he hasn't been schooled.

My boy Johnny thinks he's cool
Crying to his mama when no one can hear
She buys him his tattered jeans
She looks away while he sucks his cancer sticks

Johnny boy knows the meaning of cool,
Doing whatever you want with a fuck you attitude.
Teetering on the edge, wondering how much fun it could be to topple

We real cool
Johnny boy, like the feeling of truth
Rippling, like a chill

But, Johnny boy, remember this
Cool aint like they show it up on the big screen.
Cool may be rough and tumble but it don't mean shit
Without a heart of gold

Johnny boy aint no Cool Hand Luke
Johnny's just a lazy mama's boy
Hiding behind a rebellious attitude.

I didn't really follow the assignment for the day. I knew where I wanted to go but I just couldn't get there. I am happy with the results anyway. Though it was frustrating at times to start and studder start the poem over and over again. What ended up happening was that I used all of these misstarts and ended up with this really nice repeating quality in the poem.

Day 3 - Featured Author  

Posted by Megan

"Poet W. Joe Hoppe is the model of an up-and-coming new millennium poet. He has published numerous chapbooks and cut his teeth performing live poetry in the thriving Austin poetry scene..."

Today's poet is W. Joe Hoppe. I don't have much to say about him, because I wasn't particularly impressed (sorry Joe). But there may be something there for you. He seems to have a humor and also a interesting take on some of the topics of his poetry.

Poems Available Online:

You could say he is a bit of of man's man poet. Writing about old cars and tools. A good portion of his book of poems called Galvanized can be read through the google book search. That all being said, what can you learn from a poet you don't particularly like? There is a really unique way that Hoppe uses language. Of all his poems that I read, the following in my favorite:

For Us Toiling Away
Probably Not to Become Rich and Famous

Then there's times
in our deeply digging
submerged so far that
the domes of our heads arise
from our self proclaimed tunnels
only enough to furrow the earth's surface
like Bugs Bunny
we take a wrong turn at Tucumcari

The rivers of ourselves
not to connect up with bigger rivers
or form deltas or gulfs or well known tides
once we gain the boundless ocean

But manifest as something closer
to the Mighty Okavango
flowing off into the Namib Desert
finally engulfed by surrounding sands

Where just before fading into that wasteland
a jungle oasis crops up
supportive of hippopotami, rhinoceros, babboons,
crocodiles, fish in the middle of the desert
the only elephants for a thousand miles
What do you think?
What is some of the language you like in this poem?

Day 3 - Writing About Issues  

Posted by Megan

I have been very busy today. Sort of like in book heaven at the school book fair. I was helping out and it took a huge chunk out of my day. On top of that I didn't manage to get enough rest and I am just not feeling up to par. Even though I have put some work in on a poem for today, I decided I am just going to have to post today's with tomorrow's.

No parking O IMG_7486 T R34 Vintage LEGO Letter Y

There is a lot of content from Hewitt in today's article. Today we are transitioning from writing about ourselves into writing about something that is not us. Moving from the inside to the outside. How does this change how we approach the work?

The Outside World
"Poetry that is focused on issues, causes and events can be very powerful. This type of poetry can inform people, change people’s views or even spur people to action. Poetry has, for all of history, been a tool for social change and the expression of political and philosophical ideas."

Have you read a poem that impacted you ideologically? Have you been informed, changed, or spurred? If you have been affected by a specific title, please share it in the comments. I know a lot of people have a very cathartic and even political response to some of Henry Rollins' spoken word pieces. And Rollins was effected this way by Ginsberg. In a 2005 interview he said, "Allan Ginsberg’s poetry I’ve enjoyed. I was raised with Kaddish and Howl. I think Howl is one of the strongest pieces of American literature, I mean, at that point. That’s one of those things you really wish you had written, you know, it’s a beautiful piece of work." Hewitt continues this idea by saying, "Allen Ginsberg’s Howl, for example, was an introduction it a sub-culture that most of America knew nothing about."

Have you read Howl? How has it effected you? Can you think of a reason why Rollins would consider it one of the strongest pieces of American literature? (Haven't read it yet but want to? Full text and video montage including audio of Ginsberg reading are available online.)

A Voice in the Wilderness
"You can’t solve the problems of the world in a single poem. There is only so much that can be accomplished with poetry, and solving the world’s problems is pretty tall order. Your goal in writing about an issue is self expression more than change."

Today's Assignment

"Find a news or opinion article that was published on the web this week. I recommend using Google News because it can take you just about anywhere. Look for a story that has some emotional or philosophical impact on you and use that story as the basis for your poem."

There is a lot of politics in the news right now. Unfortunately none of it is really relevant to me at this time. I do have a tentative news article/topic picked out and have started writing some notes on it. Even if you aren't going to write a poem about it, are there are current news issues out there that you wouldn't mind having your say about?

Day 2 - Featured Author  

Posted by Megan

Today's Recommended Poet
"While not all of his work is poetry, when it comes to writing about yourself Henry Rollins is about as honest and upfront a writer as you will find."

John Hewitt wrote an article called Five Lessons Poets Can Learn From Henry Rollins that contains some really good advice. So I will be quoting from that piece and exploring a little bit of the poetic side of Henry Rollins. Rollins has been called Rock's Renaissance Man. He is a singer-songwriter, spoken word artist, stand-up comedian, author, actor and publisher. Admit it, in some form or another you have probably heard of this guy.

Henry Rollins' first spoken word album, Short Walk on a Long Pier, was created from live performance done across the country and released in 1985. He started out his early career standing on the stage reading from a notebook. As he progressed he gained confidence in her material and his delivery. This can be most significantly noticed by contrasting Short Walk with his second spoken word album, Big Ugly Mouth. It was released in 1987, just previous to the height of the spoken word movement.

According to Hewitt, these are the 5 things you can learn from Rollins:

  1. Write about yourself honestly
  2. Be open to change - "I believe that one defines oneself by reinvention. To not be like your parents. To not be like your friends. To be yourself. To cut yourself out of stone." – H.R.
  3. Hard work will be rewarded
  4. Self publish if you have to
  5. Don't be afraid to fail - "Scar tissue is stronger than regular tissue. Realize the strength, move on." – H.R.
Which of these things is the most helpful to you as a writer? Which lesson do you need to learn the most?

Rollins has been writing since high school. He is extremely well read. He is one of the few artists I have ever heard talk so openly about the literature that has moved him and why. In a 2005 interview with The Modern Word, I found another lesson you can learn for Rollins, or maybe just the reiteration that hard work gets rewarded.
"I have really no talent for writing, merely an obsession and some kind of strange duty I feel. Yet I never felt that I’m any good at it. I can’t even say I enjoy writing. I sometimes wish I could stop. Unfortunately I can’t."
But how would a Rollins respond to that? With outrage I am sure. There is a certain pleasure I take in beating myself up against the wall, of getting the words, the order, the everything right. Marcia Garcia Tabor/Teutsch of Ping Pong Magazine would likely disagree with Rollins' above statement too. About Rollins she says,
"His words are like a wrecking ball smashing the ivory tower which has held literature hostage for years. He has set it free. He takes on politics, literature and music with intelligence and eloquence in his spoken word shows. He rants, he shouts, he gets your attention, and he is unrelenting. His words are weapons, his words are wildflowers, his words will smack you down and then help you up again, his words will leave you wanting more, and he will give you more, without expectation, without mandate, but with a definite idea of the possibilities inherent in each of us. Like Walt Whitman, his words will help you to believe that transcendence is possible, that language matters, that the right to freely express yourself matters, and that maybe, just maybe, you too have something to say."
I know that block quote is huge, but you have to read it, and then you have to track down some Henry Rollins and understand why you too can do this, why you too have something to say! What makes Rollins' unique as a poet and artist? And how, besides Hewitt's 5 things, can you apply that unique quality to your writing?

Instead of a list of works online I am going to leave you now with what seems to be Rollins' most popular poem.

I Know You

I know you
you were too short
you had bad skin
you couldn't talk to them very well
words didn't seem to work
they lied when they came out of your mouth
you tried so hard to understand them
you wanted to be part of what was happening
you saw them having fun
and it seemed like such a mystery
almost magic
made you think that there was something wrong with you
you'd look in the mirror trying to find it
you thought that you were ugly
and that everyone was looking at you
so you learned to be invisible
to look down
to avoid conversation
the hours
ah the weekend nights, alone
where were you
in the basement?
in the attic?
in your room?
working some job?
just to have something to do
just to have a place to put yourself
just to have a way to get away from them
a chance to get away from the ones that made you feel so strange and ill-at-ease inside yourself
did you ever get invited to one of their parties
you sat and wondered if you would go or not
for hours you imagined the scenarios that might transpire
they would laugh at you
if you would know what to do
if you would have the right things on
if they would notice that you came from a different planet
did you get all brave in your thoughts
like you were going to be able to go in there and deal with it
and have a great time
did you think that you might be "the life of the party"
that all these people were gonna talk to you
and you would find out that you were wrong
that you had a lot of friends
and you weren't so strange after all?
did you end up going
did they mess with you
did they single you out
did you find out that you were invited
because they thought you were so weird
yeah, I think I know you
you spent a lot of time full of hate
a hate that was pure as sunshine
a hate that saw for miles
a hate that kept you up at night
a hate that filled your every waking moment
a hate that carried you for a long time
yes I think I know you
you couldn't figure out what they saw and the way they lived
home was not home
your room was home
a corner was home
the place they weren't- that was home
I know you
you're sensitive
and you hide it, because you fear getting stepped on one more time
it seems that when you show a part of yourself that is the least bit vulnerable
someone takes advantage of you
one of them steps on you
they mistake kindness for weakness
but you know the difference
you've been the brunt of their weakness for years
and strength is something you know a bit about
because you had to be strong to keep yourself alive
you know yourself very well now
and you don't trust people
you know them too well
you try to find that "special person"
someone you can be with
someone you can touch
someone you can talk to
someone you won't feel so strange around
and you found that they don't really exist
you feel closer to people on movie screens
yeah, I think I know you
you spend a lot of time daydreaming
and people have made comment to that effect
telling you that you're "self-involved" and "self-centered"
but they don't know, do they
about the long nightshifts alone
about the years of keeping yourself company
all the nights you wrapped your arms around yourself
so you could imagine someone holding you
the hours of indecision
the intense depression
the blinding hate
the rage that made you stagger
the devastation of rejection
maybe they do know
but if they do
they sure do a good job of hiding it
it astounds you how they can be so smooth
how they seem to pass through life as if life itself was some divine gift
and it infuriates you to watch yourself with your apparent skill,
and finding every way possible to screw it up
for you, life is a long trip
terrifying and wonderful
birds sing to you at night
the rain and the sun
the changing seasons
are true friends
solitude is a hard won ally
faithful and patient
yeah, I think I know you
Are you a fan of Rollins? Share you insights on why in the comments.

Day 2 - Poem about an Event in your Week  

Posted by Megan

Unlike yesterday's poem, this was fairly easy. To take an event that had emotional significance that happened in the last week made it easy for me to know what to write about. It is true, I may have had the most boring week ever. One thing came instantly to mind, but I decided to make a list of the emotional events of the week, just in case the first idea didn't work out. There was a whopping 3 events listed.

Special thanks today goes to perpstu and CHiC for help in editing this poem and for stroking my ego (as I specially asked be done.) Please click on their names to go to their blogs and support them for tolerating my genius.


The phone rings, the caller ID says "school"
You know pretty much the only option is to panic.
The safety and well being of your five year old is now in jeopardy
Even though you left her in their barely capable hands.

The receptionist politely explains to you that school let out early today.
You politely explain you are not an idiot and request she not make future assaults
On the character of your parenting.
Really, if you'd forgotten it would have been an honest mistake.

But you didn't forget. You grit your teeth and smile.
You grind out the explanation.
Inside there's anger at everyone,
Is it shielding the guilt of not having picked her up yourself?

When your daughter gets on the phone the distress in her voice...
The distress in her voice melts everything else away.
Mind like blank whiteboard, while feet are running in circles.
You need to get to the school. NOW.

Day 2 - Writing about yourself  

Posted by Megan

The 30 Poems in 30 Days series is written by John Hewitt. When I came across the site I did not realize that I in fact just barely missed this year's edition of it. As a result, I am starting at 2007, at the beginning. Quotes come directly from Hewitt, and thanks to him for the work and effort her has put into this.

Today's article by Hewitt accompanying the assignment had a lot of really useful tips and comments. The overall task of writing about yourself has always been easy for me. In fact the majority of my work is autobiographical, though sometimes to a hyperbolic level. It wasn't until I started writing off of photos and other pieces of art work was I able to write in a poetic voice other than my own. Do you find it is hard to write poetry about yourself? Do you use any tricks to remove yourself from the situation you are writing about?

You are a Character
"One of the keys to writing about the events in your life is to accept yourself as a character. When you are writing about yourself, you are essentially writing a persona poem, and the persona is you. A person reading your poem is going to be viewing you as a character in the poem. They may understand that you are writing about yourself, but they will still be viewing you as a character that they are trying to interpret and connect with."

I really like this little insight. Sometimes you are scared of writing about yourself because of the things you will reveal. But if you look at the person in your poetry as a mask you can wear it can be helpful to allow yourself to open. We are all wearing a multi sided mask as we go through life. We show different people different parts of our personalities. Think of your writing voice as just one of those many personalities.

First or Third
"Some people find it helpful to write about themselves in the third person. Using this technique they move even further toward viewing themselves as a character. This technique allows them to step outside of themselves and view the events in a more detached way. Some people are comfortable with that process, while others prefer to stay in the first person. I, for one, like to stay in the first person."

What do you write in? For me it is totally situational. I will even switch point of view while editing a poem to create a different effect or let something new come out of it. I find that when I write in third person I am better at creating a character for myself as mentioned above. It is easier for me to be really honest when I have that detachment, but I don't always require it. I even sometimes like to write in the second person even though it is a pretty big no-no. I figure my poetry, my choice. It isn't really going to hurt anyone, maybe annoy them a little. Do you have a preference when you are reading poetry for it to be in first or third?

Today's Assignment
"Write about an event in your life that happened within the past week. Take some time to think about the week and look for event that has some emotional meaning for you, but not so much that it would be painful for you to write about. Sometimes smaller moments have more meaning."

Is anyone out there writing along with me or enjoy seeing the assignment before the poem is posted? I am trying to decide if I should just post the assignment above my poem once I have completed it. Any thoughts?

Day 1 - Featured Author  

Posted by Megan

Today's Recommended Poet
"Poet Honoree Fanonne Jeffers writes in a vivid blues style. Her character-based poetry delves deep into life in the rural south. Reading her poetry is like stepping into another world. One of her poems, Tuscaloosa: Riversong appears here."

I like how he says, "Reading her poetry is like stepping into another world." I think that is quite a feat in some ways, and completely to be expected in others. We tend not to go to poetry and find something ordinary. Through poetry even the ordinary things become extraordinary and you are brought into their world in way you never would have been.

“Honorée Jeffers leads with her ear and follows with her rigorous intellect, then adds an emotional depth and fearlessness that make her poems uniquely powerful." --Elizabeth Alexander.

Poems available online:
I really wanted to read through all these poems and maybe learn something from one of them, a technique to apply, but I just ran out of time for today. I was going to post my favorite poem, but I didn't get through them as I had hoped. If you like one of these poems please let me know in the comments.

For now it is sweet dreams for me, there is another creative day coming up tomorrow.

Day 1 - Poem of Childhood  

Posted by Megan

As suggested by my previous post, this is a poem I really struggled with. I was thinking and writing but nothing was jarring loose, everything was just staying exactly in its place, carefully locked away. But finally someone said something to me. Just a single feeling that triggered a memory that was more than a flash. A memory I could really hold on to. Of course I still consider it a work in progress and post it with some trepidation. My first poem...


I wait for you, across the street, waiting for us to walk home

Walked crunch, crunch down the Berber hallway;
Glancing back, eyes pretending not to look.
Stopped to a slow-motion pace watching the door of your classroom
Shuffle, shuffle scuffing along on the soles of my feet.

Ran my finger in the crease between two rows of bricks.
Took a long sip of water from the fountain
Eyes slanted down the hall. Paused,
Longer than I needed to, just let the water flow past my lips
Cool and fresh.
I hate the taste of water, but I drink it because I can, to fill the space between here and
the other side of the road (where I wait for you)

Stepped outside, brightness bearing down
Backpack slapping against my already itching back.
The road is sporadically busy, the cars travel too quickly
I have been crossing this road for years, sometimes with you.
I smiled at the crossing guard, she sort of feels like my friend.

As soon as the tip of my right toe touched the curb
I threw my bag down in the grass, I followed behind it.
Used it as a pillow, thinking of what I want to tell you about my day.
Just laid there in the grass (where I wait for you)

I see you, walking finally, I sit up
I try to pretend you didn't see me as you reverse your steps and duck behind the bus.
They roll away, one by one, but as I stand up to put my backpack on, you aren't there.
Pound, thud. I start pacing a little, I know what happened.

But still I wait for you.


Do you know what happens in the end of the poem?
What do you think a good title of this poem would be?

Day 1 - Why you should write poetry  

Posted by Megan

The 30 Poems in 30 Days series is written by John Hewitt. When I came across the site I did not realize that I in fact just barely missed this year's edition of it. As a result, I am starting at 2007, at the beginning. Quotes come directly from Hewitt, and thanks to him for the work and effort her has put into this.

Why You Should Write

"...the best reason to write poetry is because it is something you enjoy doing or at least it is something you get some sort of emotional or spiritual benefit from doing. There is no other good reason to write poetry."

Today's Assignment
"Write a poem about your childhood. Explore an actual event that has some emotional significance to you. Avoid using any description of how you felt about the event then or how you feel about it now. Instead, try to make the emotion of the event come through in your descriptions of what happened."

For me this is a struggle. My childhood memories are like a small stack of Polaroids that you could flip through and see a sort of staggered motion. My happiest memories lie very independently from the events that surrounded them. I spent a lot of time noticing that my life was not like the family you saw on TV. There were no home videos. There are snapshot after snapshot of posed pictures and forced smiles, that give no real insight into the reality of our life. I struggle to make sense of the fragments, of the images, of the stop-motion clips that comprise my childhood. In On Writing, Stephen King expresses his own frustrations with the inadequacies of his childhood memory.
"Mary Karr [author of The Liars' Club] presents her childhood in an almost unbroken panorama. Mine is a fogged-out landscape from which occasional memories appear like isolated trees . . . the kind that look as if they might like to grab and eat you."

Somehow I must find a way to weave the images together in some sort of significant single event. My childhood memories, especially elementary age ones, are the hardest of my life. I didn't suffer horrible physical abuse,
nor was I faced with a neglectful parent due to substance abuse. Yet I did suffer, mostly but not exclusively, at the hands of my peers. There are times I refuse to be tormented by those memories. I am sure there were many amazing and positive memories but my subconscious does not hang onto to those. Except for maybe a lone tree that was my refuge in my grandparents yard. It represents for me everything my life was not. Every iconic image media tells you belongs to family and childhood.

Now I work and toil to bring about something from the depths. I will look at what I have written here and what I have left out. And later today I will post the results. What about you? Do you have relevant events from your childhood that stick out like thorns or mountains of triumph?

A Poem Is A Little Path

A poem is a little path
That leads you through the trees.
It takes you to the cliffs and shores,
To anywhere you please.

Follow it and trust your way
With mind and heart as one,
And when the journey's over,
You'll find you've just begun.

--From The 20th Century Children's Poetry Treasury,
Knopf, 1999, copyright by Charles Ghigna.